Jump to content


Photo

The 1938 Wangaratta Grand Prix


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 David Shaw

David Shaw
  • Member

  • 1,724 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 21 August 2009 - 10:36

Firstly, let me point out that it wasn't held as permission to close the roads was withheld by the Chief Secretary 10 days before it was to have been held. Terry Walker makes mention of it in Fast Tracks.

In 1938, Wangaratta was holding its Centenary celebrations, and decided to follow the lead of nearby Benalla, who held a motor race on public roads during their Centenary celebrations 2 years prior.

It was once again organised by the Victorian Sporting Car Club, with much local assistance. It was to be held on Saturday November 26, over a 4ΒΌ mile "almost rectangular course with one fast sweeping bend and a near hairpin" in North Wangaratta, with the closest point being 2 miles from the centre of Wangaratta. With around 3 weeks to go, a deputation of farmers met with the Council at a public meeting where they aired their concerns about potential damage to properties and fences, as well as the threat of fire as it had been a very dry period.

It is believed that this opposition by the farmers was what caused the Chief Secretary to withhold his blessing. It is possible that it was actually the Wangaratta Grand Prix that was the origin of the myth that the Benalla race was never held, as an angry farmer had dug up the track.

I will do some more research when I am next in the State Library, and try and ascertain where exactly the course was

Advertisement

#2 john medley

john medley
  • Member

  • 1,167 posts
  • Joined: November 02

Posted 22 August 2009 - 07:24

My understanding is that it was called the Wangaratta Centenary Grand Prix and that when Leo Drill the VSCC secretary expressed his disappointment at the "no run" decision he rather mildly pointed out that there had been a genuine but mistaken belief that the Victorian government's anti motor sport policy had mellowed. Clearly, they were trying times. Dont forget that the NSW govt had earlier in November(4th) denied the Parramatta meeting after practice
The new bridge to Phillip Island would have exacerbated rather than diminished the concern felt by Victoria's motor sporting community. I have no record of entrants for the aborted meeting, nor any info on circuit location.

#3 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,720 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 22 August 2009 - 09:23

There must be a contemporary Wangaratta - or at least Albury-Wodonga - local newspaper in the 30s, which would have more about it than the metropolitan press, and would identify the roads to be used. When I did Fast Tracks I was in Canberra with the excellent resources of the National Library just a short walk from the office, which included countless regional newspapers on microfilm as well as a wonderful collection of WW2 and later air photography.

#4 David Shaw

David Shaw
  • Member

  • 1,724 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 22 August 2009 - 21:52

I was searching through the archives of the Wangaratta Chronicle-Despatch on Friday Terry, but unfortunately the 6 o'clock closing came too quickly for me. I hope to be back in there in the next week or two.

There is no official entry list that I have located, as I assume entries hadn't yet closed, but there is a list of drivers who had expressed interest:
Posted Image

Edited by David Shaw, 22 August 2009 - 21:56.


#5 cooper997

cooper997
  • Member

  • 890 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 23 August 2009 - 01:08

I'm think Jeff Whitten, who published Australian Rallysport News and has a long association with the North Eastern Car Club, would have some information on this event.

Stephen

#6 275 GTB-4

275 GTB-4
  • Member

  • 7,115 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 23 August 2009 - 03:08

but unfortunately the 6 o'clock closing came too quickly for me.


Commonly known as the 6 O'Clock swill :)


#7 David Shaw

David Shaw
  • Member

  • 1,724 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 23 August 2009 - 06:39

Commonly known as the 6 O'Clock swill :)

I knew it wouldn't take long until somebody picked up on that. ;)
Unfortunately, Fridays and weekends the State Library of Victoria closes its doors at 6:00pm. I try to get there on Mondays when it closes at 9:00pm, but that is not always possible.


#8 David Shaw

David Shaw
  • Member

  • 1,724 posts
  • Joined: August 02

Posted 01 September 2009 - 02:40

I have had a not-quite-thorough look back through the Wangaratta Chronicle Despatch archives from April until November, and cannot find any more information on the proposed location.

As to the name of the race, I would have thought it would have had 'Centenary' in its name as well, but of the 8 or so articles I have copies of, none mention it in the name. It was certainly organised at least in part by the Wangaratta Centenary Committee, but it may be that they decided against using it in the race name as it was to be held a month after the official Centenary celebrations.
Posted Image
This is an advertisement for the event, printed on the same day that permission was refused.

Edited by David Shaw, 01 September 2009 - 02:40.